Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Kronanburg or BUST!!!"

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of reviewing quite a few anthology horror films from the world of indie film lately. The form is making quite a comeback, and rightly so, it gives aspiring film makers a collective marketing medium, and allows them to cross promote with other studios. “Psycho Street” (coming soon from R-Squared) is, to paraphrase “The Lord of the Rings”—one anthology to rule them all! Featuring segments directed by some very familiar names to followers on the indie fright scene, and includes thespians that are among the brightest talents in the genre.

            Last year, at the Motor City Nightmares convention, I was finally able to meet and chat with Muscle Wolf Production’s Marv Blauvelt, and first heard, in detail anyways, about the project. Marv’s enthusiasm for film making is equal to his talent as a writer and actor, so I was very intrigued when he passed me a screener for the Pete Jacelone directed segment “Hypochondriac”. A great short film, with plenty of gross-out humor, “Hypochondriac” featured an excellent ensemble cast that included (among others): Raine Brown, Allan Rowe Kelly, Zoe Daelman Chlanda, Susan Adriensen, and some great comic interplay between Marv and Carl Burrows. I posted a glowing review on for the short, and waited…
This was followed, a few months later, by a link to an online screening of “Lewis”. A blackly comic, over the top, amazingly paced and acted throwback, director Anthony G. Sumner cemented his growing reputation as one sick bastard with this twisted little gem. Truly standout performances from rising star Deneen Melody, as well as Susan Adriensen and Jerry Murdock as the demonic duo of “Sister Louise” and “Father Lennox” made “Lewis” a very memorable viewing experience, and again, another review was shot—and I waited (impatiently) for more…
Enter: HorrorHound, Columbus, this past Spring—Marv (who, by the way, has become a pretty awesome friend as well as an “industry contact”) introduced me to director Patrick Desmond and actress Kaylee Williams before he slipped me a blu-ray of the deliciously malignant “love story” that is “Anti-Bodies” (which had screened to rave reviews the night before). The aforementioned Ms. Williams delivered a harrowingly convincing performance in this segment, supported more than ably by Jared Degado, Brigid Macaulay(holy shit, she's hot!), the Barbosa twins, and the man, the myth, the Marv! Deviant sexuality, and aliens ratcheted up the “WTF?” factor in this final segment that delivered the goods in spades.

At long last, this past week, I received a package from MWP with the finished product—all of the above in their splendid, sick, fucked-up, gory glory!! With the added bonus of the wrap-around story, “Come On Down” starring some of the segment’s players, and beautifully brought together by one of the sexiest women on the fucking planet—Tiffany Shepis (seriously—she could seduce, like, a stadium full of guys with one wicked smile)!!
“Psycho Street”—take heed fuckers, THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE! Any genre fan will find plenty to love in this anthology, because there’s plenty of everything genre fans love!! And, hold on to your hats, my second 10/10 EVER!! Run, do not walk, to buy a copy when it drops!! Then, pop some popcorn, grab an “adult beverage”, and prepare to grin, wince, and cower in fear!! Kronanburg is my kinda town!!

            Thanks, and big ups to Marv for keeping me in the loop on every step (and, unfortunately, mis-step—this baby had a sometimes difficult “gestation” from what I’ve heard) of this amazing project, and for, along with Anthony Sumner, providing me with some of the coolest poster art in decades for each of the segments! They hang proudly in the “Tavern of Terror”—and to everyone involved, thanks for making one HELL of a wild, roller coaster ride of a film!

I’m Tom, and I’m a “Psycho Street” fan.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Hey! Are you a 'film maker'?"

Something has been on my mind for a while now, so I'm gonna rant--at what point exactly does a person qualify as a "film maker"?? I'm asking this because apparently my definition varies wildly from some peoples'. I thought the stuff I review, defend and support was "independent" film. Furthermore, I thought that people who actually made films were film makers.  About a year ago, I was at a convention and met someone who's advice changed my whole outlook--ducking away from the commotion, this man asked what I was doing at the fest, I explained that I was sharing a table with two film makers, we had all made short films that year and released them together on one DVD--and we had sold out of them! I then remarked to this person that "I almost felt like I was among my peers for a second there" to which he replied "young man, did you have a vision of the story you wanted to tell, and then, did you translate that story onto the screen using everything you had available?", when I answered "yes", he told me "then you could be in a room with Coppola, Scorcese and Spielberg and you'd be among your peers--don't ever sell yourself short, there's plenty of people in this business to do that for you". With that in mind, I'll lay out a few things that sort of chap my ass about indie horror films (and the people that make them) and clarify my positions and opinions.

Seriously, some of the best indie films were made by people with a rudimentary knowledge (at best) of the process--the key to an entertaining film, horror or otherwise, is storytelling! And that, friends, can't be taught in any school--you either have it, or you don't. Film making is kind of like a great guitar solo--you can have all the chops in the world, but if you ain't feeling it, it's gonna be as entertaining as watching someone do long division. Passion for the story will shine through a mountain of technical glitches.

Really?? So you used a RED camera and still made a boring, sterile, shitty film that pales in comparison to one shot on a VHS cam-corder, circa 1992? I'd demand your money back if I was you!! Or better yet, go on social media and rail about how people are morons because they hate your pristine, hi-def masterpiece (it's a whole lot cheaper than sending out fliers!). Maybe if chicks at film fests overhear you discussing your geek-gasm collection of gear, you'll get laid more. Hey, it could work...

If I hear one more self important fuck-bag whine about how Indie Go Go and Kickstarter are too flooded with half-assed projects that no one will fund a decent film anymore, I'm gonna fucking retch!! Browse those sites for 5 minutes--go ahead--if you can't separate the shit from the Shinola by reading the proposals in that amount of time, you should probably list something other than English as your primary fucking language!! If you've made a decent film with no funding, people will hear about it (Hell, I spend most of my free time making sure people will hear about it) and funding will come. The old adage "the cream always rises" is true in a lot of things, especially film. If you have a great script/idea/concept, and you have the right people behind it--it will work. Look at what people like Brandon Slagle, JimmyO Burril, and Jason Liquori (to name a few) have done with micro-budgets---see what I mean? I made a film for $40, edited and scored it myself and got festival play and DVD sales with it. Derek Huey has built a sizable and fiercely loyal following for "The League of Science" while spending, like, 5 bucks an episode. A budget will not make a ranconteur out of a boring douchebag--that's just unconscious knowledge!

FACT:"Real" actors cost money. FACT: Money is usually something up and coming indie auteurs have little of. While excellent acting can make or break a film, often people making their first, second, or even third film are using their savings, kid's college fund, or whatever they can scrape together to simply complete the film, and then possibly make enough money to make the next one even better. Precious few directors in the indie world are making a "living" at this godless endeavor, so if they can con "amateur actors" in their circle of friends to act int heir films--don't bag on them because they didn't hire you--root them on, maybe they'll be able to afford you next time. It worked for Romero!

So, yeah, guys & gals, STOP WHINING!!! Trust me, if you're passionate about what you're doing--it shows!! And I can say this with some conviction because I almost certainly have watched more indie/low budget/no budget/I'll-pay-YOU-to-watch-this films in the last 3 or 4 years than 95% of the people reading this have. And, as always, SUPPORT INDEPENDENT CINEMA!!
Oh, and the guy I spoke to at that film fest, that was none other than Lloyd Kaufman--so take his advice, and go "make your own damn movie"!!!

I'm Tom--I'll be here all week!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Krusty Klassick-"3 On A Meathook"

So, from time to time, I plan to review the seamy underbelly of horror/exploitation cinema, the not-so-new, cheap, sleazy, and possibly shitty films from years past to hopefully turn you on to something new to you or inspire you to revisit a crappy gem!! The inaugural title?? The shit-tastic "3 On A Meathook"!!
Enjoy weirdos!!!